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Here is a good article from Graves Golf

May 7 2012 at 7:24 PM
Don M (Snowman)  (Login Snowman9000)
SAGF Members 2006

Response to Trying too hard

This came in an email from them. I tried to find it on their sites so I could simply link to it, but maybe it has not yet been put up. This article might as well have been describing me when I made the original post.


Re-Creation Is The Name of The Game!

By Dr. Ron Cruickshank, Golf Mind Coach, Certified Master Instructor and Director of GGA Canada

Got an email recently marked "URGENT". It was in bold and in RED. It was from a student of mine telling me he needed immediate help with his game. He had gone out to hit some balls and was hitting it all over the place and he was " terribly frustrated and wanted to get it fixed right away." After some conversation to identify what was going on, we set up a lesson the next day. Before we hung up though, I asked him to consider something and come prepared to talk about it the next day. What I asked him to consider was the following. If this is a game that you love and you are playing for recreation, why are you so frustrated and upset because you had a practice session that didn't go very well? The silence from the other end of the phone was deafening.

We all want to perform better and achieve mastery of something that is meaningful to us; this drive is a hard-wired, biologically driven imperative common to all people and cultures. However, in my experience, when it comes to golf I see far too many people overly frustrated and not enjoying the journey to getting better at this grand game.

Certainly part of the reason for folk's frustration is the lack of understanding about the golf swing and what they need to do differently to get better. I'd like to think we at Graves Golf have appreciably alleviated this information gap by providing you high quality information, which if followed, will result in you getting better. As in all things, mastery will be in direct proportion to the amount of practice (perfect reps) as you build new skill circuits in our brain.

However, this article is more about the subjective experience of personal satisfaction. As a general behavior tenet, if your expectations are not aligned with the reality of your experience, then the gap will be represented by an increased degree of frustration. Thus, if your primary experience of the game is frustration, then I would suggest you re-think your reasons for participating in the sport, given that it is a game.

I propose to you a dramatically different purpose for pursuing mastery of golf. That is, that the game is meant to be a recreation for you. Given that it is a game, then by definition it is meant to provide a diversion and amusement to you, not be the source of frustration and anger. The game is meant to recreate, renew and refresh your psyche and is only successful if you have a net ADD to your energy and life.

Let's reflect on the etymology of the various terms we are throwing around. The root word in recreate is CREA, which comes from the Latin creare, which means to create. When you engage in re-creation, it is an act that by definition is meant to re-fresh and re-vive the person engaging in the activity. Doesn't seem like the experience we see out on the golf course so often does it?

Another key distinction is to keep in mind that razors edge between fun and seriousness. When we are playing the game for fun, then by definition that comes with a sense of playfulness. The MacMillan Dictionary defines fun as enjoyment, especially from an activity that is not important or serious. If you've ever watched one of your buds helicopter a putter in to the nearest tree line after a missed three footer it is hard to imagine he is activating the magical and care free inner child; probably more like accessing one of Dante's inner beasts from Upper Hell (anger and avarice).

I believe that self-awareness and self-consciousness is required to fully experience life's joys. When we generalize the drive for mastery into a habituated blind need to achieve at everything and at all costs, it is easy to let this degenerate into a bad emotional resonance when we don't achieve according to our desires.

An antidote for submerging into frustration, anger and eventually apathy is to develop a new appreciation for why you are playing the game and what you want out of it. When I ask this "why" question of people, the most oft quoted response is "I just want to have fun" (enjoyment, pleasure, gratification, or a good time). It all translates into the same thing, they want to play the game and be recreated.


1. Set aside five minutes to ponder on what you really want from the game. Even if it is for business, in the end I bet you wind up still wanting the game to be fun for you and your associates. Become aware of your expectations. The game is easy to be enjoyed when playing for fun, it can be hard to enjoy if your point of comparison is Phil or Tiger. Remind yourself of these reasons on the way to the golf course or when warming up.

2. Be committed to having an attitude of FUN. Enjoy the risks of trying to get over the water or avoiding a hazard. If you fail it is no different than losing a hand of poker, and you weren't ALL IN! If you win your risky shot, then celebrate in playfulness. It is a game of skill that is mastered by few, so enjoy doing the best you can TODAY.

3. BE GOOD COMPANY. Remember what YOU like in a great playing partner and then act like that. In a month no one will remember your 82 or 92, but they will remember that you were fun, playful, complimented them on a good shot, kept up, knew the rules, and had a good joke to tell over your iced tea or beer at the 19th hole.

4. For those of you that can't give up being overly serious and intensely focused in your approach to golf try taking that attitude to the practice tee. Then, leave it there when you go to the course to PLAY. The difference will pay big dividends.

So how about my over wrought student? He came in the next day laughing and told me that as he reflected on my question over night he realized that his poor performance at his practice session was directly related to the tension and pressure he was putting on himself to perform. He had correctly diagnosed that he was caught up in malicious cycle of deteriorating performance, triggered by his own tension. The more upset he got, the poorer he hit the ball; the poorer he hit the ball the more he got upset. The downward spiral was pretty obvious. His solution? Lighten up!

About the Author: Ron Cruickshank recreates by teaching the single plane golf swing at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club in Whitby, Ontario. He urges you to come have fun and renewal by using golf as the vehicle. Write at

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